Low Maintenance Lawn Care
You can develop a low maintenance lawn whether you are ready to start a new lawn or are planning a long-term management program for the lawn you now have. At either stage, start with soil testing and base your “ground work” on the testing report.
For New Lawns
Focus on low maintenance as you work through the site preparation. Then consider the turf species and varieties within those species that are best adapted to your geographic region, the microclimates within the lawn area, and the ways you want to use your lawn.
Review the turfgrass installation options and processes to determine which will best fit your schedule and budget. Follow the steps outlined to properly establish your new lawn, whether it is seeded, sprigged or sodded. Once the new lawn is established, keep it beautiful and healthy with long-term low maintenance.
For Existing Lawns
For existing lawns, modify poor soil with seasonally-repeated core aeration and light topdressing with soil-test-determined amendments.
Follow these low maintenance tips to keep your lawn healthy and beautiful:
Practice water-wise irrigation. Water as early in the morning as possible, when winds are calmest and temperatures lowest. Water only when the lawn is dry and then apply an amount that will soak in deeply. If there is an in-ground sprinkler system, adjust it to the seasonal needs of the turfgrass plant, don’t just “set it and forget it.”
Mow following the one-third rule, removing just the top third of the blade, and Grasscycle, leaving the clippings on the lawn to provide nutrients.
Fertilize when the turfgrass plant can best use the nutrients. For cool-season turfgrasses that’s in early spring (when soil temperatures are 50-degrees or higher) and late fall. For warm-season turfgrasses, fertilize lightly through the peak growing season during the summer. Use fertilizers with at least one-half of the nitrogen in a slow-release form.
Follow Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices. Apply pesticides only to those areas that require them. Weeds can be pulled or spot-sprayed. A dense, vigorously growing lawn will crowd out weeds and be able to out-grow many insect and disease problems.
Help the lawn weather drought and heat stress. But if unfavorable conditions persist and/or irrigation is restricted, allow the lawn to go dormant. When temperatures start to drop and fall rains increase, your low maintenance lawn will recover.
With proper low maintenance lawn care, many of the high maintenance jobs of spraying insecticides, herbicides and fungicides won’t be necessary.